Wales name squad for decisive World Cup qualifier

Head coach, Tom Brindle, has named a 19-player squad to face the Netherlands in Purmerend on Saturday (kick-off 4pm local time/3pm Welsh time), as Wales look to make history and qualify for a first-ever Women’s World Cup.

Bethan Dainton leads the side after her player of the match contribution against Ireland in April put Wales one win away from qualifying.

Cardiff Demons trio Leanne Burnell, Lauren Aitken and Seren Gough-Walters all return after missing the Ireland clash. All three played in the first-ever match in 2019, as did Kathryn Salter who, if selected, will be the only player to have turned out in all 11 of Wales’ capped fixtures to date. Gracie Hobbs of Huddersfield Giants and Cardiff’s Megan Whittaker are the only two uncapped players in the travelling party.

After Ireland’s narrow victory over Netherlands last month in the other game in group A, only a win by 12 points or more would guarantee the hosts qualification for the 2026 World Cup, denying Wales an automatic place in the process. Despite their success against the Dutch, the size of defeat to Wales in Cardiff means Ireland are unable to qualify in top spot.

The team finishing second in the group will face the runners up in group B to decide who will go forward to the 2025 World Series, and another opportunity to qualify for the World Cup. Wales would need to suffer a 33-point defeat to miss out on second place.

The match will take place at Rugby Club Waterland, Purmerend. 

Wales Squad: Lauren Aitken, Leanne Burnell, Katie Carr, Shaunni Davies, Jasmine Gibbons, Seren Gough-Walters, Ffion Jenkins, Hannah Jones, Sara Jones, Rhi Parker, Amy Price, Brittony Price, Megan Whittaker* (all Cardiff Demons), Bethan Dainton (Leeds Rhinos, captain), Ashlea Prescott (Featherstone Rovers), Gracie Hobbs*(Huddersfield Giants), Kathryn Salter (London Broncos), Agnes Wood (Sheffield Eagles), Georgia Taylor (York Valkyrie).